CDHR queries Buhari’s campaign against hate speech

Sola Shittu, Benin

The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights on Sunday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to search his conscience over the increase in cases of hate statements across the country.

CDHR, in statement signed by its National President, Dr Osagie Obayuwana, said the responsibility for dousing the rise in the incident of hate speech in the country rest solely on the shoulder of Buhari.

The group called on Nigerian people to ponder why the threat to national cohesion appeared to be on the increase under President Buhari’s rule.

“NEC CDHR calls on President Buhari to search his conscience whether he can confidently say as he did in his inauguration speech of 2015 that he belongs to all and to no group in particular.

“Many accusations have been levelled against President Buhari that he is sectional in his appointment into key positions in the federal public service in a manner inconsistent with the federal character principle.

“The RUGA scheme unabashedly proclaims to be for Fulani herdsmen is another major discontent as well as the sense of impunity, audacity and entitlement with which migrant herdsmen ride roughshod over the lives and property of many Nigerian people. This is cause for much grief,” he said.

Obayuwana said the situation had not been helped much by Mr President’s silence when a governor said the Fulani had no respect for national boundaries.

The CDHR said the proposed bill on the regulation of public speech and the social media in general was an attempt to stifle public discourse and criticism of public office holders in the face of glaring favouritism, palpable incompetence and misrule.

“We dare say that for as long as critical issues of national discourse remain, passionate discussion of these issues cannot be stifled with threat of huge fines, prolonged imprisonment or even death by hanging.”